AMD Radeon Linux Driver Hints At Incoming Integer Scaling Feature
Here is a bit of potentially good news for Linux gamers—recent Linux driver patches suggest AMD is working to implement to implement integer scaling support for Radeon GPUs, perhaps as early as next month. Nothing is for certain, but there are definitely clues to be encouraged. It's also worth noting that integer scaling is one of the most requested features.
This can be seen by heading over to AMD's Radeon Software Adrenalin 2019 Edition feedback page. AMD lists 10 different options, and visitors can check as many of the boxes as they wish. The only caveat is that the results are only shown after voting, so that could throw off the results a little bit. Nevertheless, here's a look at the current voting results...
GPU integer scaling support has received over 21,000 votes so far and leads the list of requested features. The only other one that comes close in user interest is expanded Radeon image sharpening support for products and APIs, which is sort of a related feature.
We recently posted an in-depth breakdown of integer scaling in games, but in short, it is a technique that can be especially helpful at making retro games look sharper and overall better on today's higher resolution displays. The same is true for certain indie titles.
This goes by different names. Intel, for example, calls it "Retro Scaling" in its Graphics Command Center utility. NVIDIA, meanwhile, simply calls its implementation "GPU scaling" in the NVIDIA Control Panel. There are different techniques too, but in general, integer scaling preserves the blocky look of old school graphics without applying smoothing techniques that can make retro games look blurry on modern displays.
As it applies to Linux, multiple references to integer scaling on Radeon GPUs can be found in the Linux driver patch archives for October. One of them can be seen in the screen shot above, in which an AMD developer states, "We want to guarantee integer ratio scaling for all scaling modes" (you can view the source here).
While nothing is for certain, it is at least possible that AMD will implement integer scaling support in Linux with a GPU driver update in December. Stay tuned.